I hadn’t planned on doing any sightseeing while I was in Johannesburg this trip just a bit of last minute shopping before heading bush. As it turned out I was finished by 10am so I decided to ring Solly, who had picked me up from the airport, to see if he could organise something for me and I’m glad I did. He organised quite a lot for a 3/4 of a day tour and two of the places we visited have left a lasting impression on me, Constitution Hill and the Apartheid Museum.
Constitution Hill started out as fort built by the Boers in the 1800’s to protect themselves from the British but in the end they ended up being prisoners in their own fort.When the Boers once again gained control of South Africa they began their reign of terror called Apartheid.
Constitution Hill is where Mahatma Gandhi, Robert Soweto, the students of the 1976 Soweto uprising and thousands of mainly black men and women were kept under unbearable and cruel conditions for as little as not carry their identity cards.
I couldn’t help but feel the pain and grief for those poor souls but at the same time I also felt so much anger and hate for the people who put them there.
But Constitution Hill today is not just for the tourists to wander around it is also home to the Constitutional Court, the highest law in the land. Like the Constitution itself, the court was designed to be open, accessible and transparent. The court is built around the old Awaiting Trial Block. It has sloping columns which are designed to look like tree trunks under which African Villagers traditionally gathered under to discuss matters of social importance .
Democracy for South Africa was born on the hill.
Today the Hill is finally at peace.
The Apartheid Museum was every bit as moving as Constituion Hill but instead it traces the history of the Boers from their Great Trek to the interior, the lead up to them implementing apartheid and to its eventual downfall.It documents the struggle for a people to be free from the chains of apartheid.
Again the emotion of anger welled up in me for these cruel and sadistic people who bought this in and the people who enforced it. Their idea of how to keep the purity of their white race makes me sick to the stomach. But I must be careful not to put all White South Africans into the same boat as many stood up to the government, went to prison and gave their lives for the struggle.
I wonder if the human race will ever learn………